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Aqua Science Engineers to pay $50,000 fee for alleged abuses of Storage Tank Fund
Environmental consulting company Aqua Science Engineers (ASE) of Contra Costa and Orange counties recently reached a settlement with the State Water Resources Control Board regarding allegations of overbilling and other abuses against the Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund. The State Water Board alleged misrepresentations with reimbursement requests containing ASE costs, including billing for labor which did not occur, charges for remediation systems that were never used, and related misrepresentations made in ASE’s invoices and technical reports.
Under the authority of Senate Bill 445 – effective as of Sept. 25, 2014 – the State Water Board has settled the case with ASE. ASE has agreed to pay an administrative civil liability of $50,000 and to cease all work on projects funded by the State Water Board. ASE and its principals, David M. Schultz and David G. Allen, are disqualified from the Cleanup Fund and all its subaccounts under the terms of the settlement. The settlement also prohibits them from doing work funded by the State Water Board’s Cleanup and Abatement Account and its Proposition 1 programs.
Senate Bill 445 addresses underground storage tank issues related to groundwater and surface water contamination, hazardous substances, petroleum and provides the State Water Board the authority to administratively prosecute misrepresentations made to the Cleanup Fund.
“Senate Bill 445 gives the State Water Board the authority to impose up to a $500,000 penalty for each misrepresentation made in any document related to the Cleanup Fund,” said Cris Carrigan, director of the Office of Enforcement. “Consultants and contractors must recognize that misrepresentations made in technical reports may be subject to penalties.”
Headquartered in Wyoming, Rhode Island, ASE is a nationally recognized industry leader in well and water treatment systems. The company provides environmental consulting services throughout California, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Inyo and Imperial counties. The company maintains both an online retail presence and also directly services Rhode Island and parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut. The company maintains over 50,000 customers accounts in the United States and Canada.
For additional information on the State Water Board’s Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund and abuses against the Cleanup Fund go to: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/publications_forms/publications/factsheets/docs/fraud_efforts_factsheet.pdf. To view the State Water Board’s settlement agreement with ASE, go to the Office of Enforcement’s website at: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/publications_forms/publications/factsheets/docs/fraud_efforts_factsheet.pdf.